Culminating Project 1: Stop-Animation Video (Day 5 of Project)

11 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT create a stop-animation video that shows what happens on the molecular level during a simple chemical reaction.

Big Idea

Bonds are broken and atoms are rearranged before forming new bonds during a chemical reaction; Matter is conserved.

Why This Lesson?

This lesson is a "how-to" for students to complete their first culminating project (of two) that will be used as a summative assessment for this unit.  It is part of a 5-day in class project, followed by a week of out of class time.  The in-class portion timeline is detailed below:

  • Day 1 is spent introducing the project [Intro for Culminating Project 1: Stop-Animation Video (Day 1 of Project)].
  • Day 2 is spent providing students with tools and examples of storyboarding, scripting, and set design [Culminating Project 1: Stop-Animation Video (Day 2 of Project)].
  • Days 3 & 4 are group work time for students.  There is no separate lesson write-up for these days because students are working at a variety of paces and on different aspects of their pre-production.  During these two days, I am available to support student progress and answer any questions they have.  I keep an eye on groups and make sure that they are progressing toward a successful product, reminding students to use the rubric to guide their video making.
  • Day 5 is our last day of pre-production during which I meet individually with each group to evaluate their progress toward completion of the pre-production rubric (this lesson!)

Having students create an end product (in this case, a video) that demonstrates their understanding of what happens at the molecular level during a chemical reaction addresses multiple Science and Engineering Practices.  First, students will be making and using models to show a chemical reaction occurring (SEP 2).  Students will need to verify the molecular structure of their reactants and products after identifying a chemical reaction to use in their videos which involves obtaining and evaluating information.  Then, they will be communicating information through the form of video (SEP 8).  During the video, students will construct explanations of conservation of matter and molecular rearrangement (SEP 6).

Multiple Performance Expectations are also addressed.  Students are creating a video that shows the outcome of a simple chemical reaction by modeling that reaction and providing detailed explanation as to what is occurring to the bonds and atoms in the reactants to make the products, directly addressing HS-PS1-2.  Two more Performance Expectations are indirectly addressed: HS-PS1-4 and HS-PS1-5.  Students must understand what occurs on the molecular level during a chemical reaction in order to address the changes in bond energies resulting in endothermic or exothermic reactions (HS-PS1-4).  In order for students to understand how changes in temperature or concentration effect reaction rates, they must have a basic understand of the molecular interactions during a chemical reaction (HS-PS1-5).

Finally, there are three Crosscutting Concepts that are addressed.  Students are using a chemical reaction equation to represent a chemical reaction, which addresses XC-SPQ-MS-4, a middle school crosscutting concept that is still particularly important for students at the high school level to master.  Students must clearly demonstrate understanding that matter is conserved during a chemical reaction which directly addresses XC-EM-HS-1.  They are also using models to simulate the chemical reaction and not actually performing the chemical reaction, which addresses XC-SSM-HS-3.

Explanation of Group Meetings

10 minutes

In order to facilitate our group meetings, I explain what students should expect.  I address the class as a whole with the information that each group will need so that I spend no more than 3-5 minutes with each individual group (thereby meeting with each of 11 groups in my class in one period--if you have fewer groups, more time can be spent in each individual meeting).

I ask students to take out their Video Preproduction Scoring Rubrics that were handed out to them on Day 1 of the project.  I keep extras available for the groups that do not have that rubric with them.  It is important that students do not mix up the Final Project Rubric with the Pre-Production Rubric.  Only pre-production is being assessed today.

I explain that one skill that is critical for success on the job or in higher education is the ability to accurately self-assess.  I explain that honesty is a very important part of an accurate self-assessment.  I use the example of an employee who thinks he is doing a great job, but his boss thinks the report is terrible.  If the employee had honestly assessed his own work ahead of time, maybe he would have been able to turn out a much better end product and his boss would have been pleased.  In college, there is less feedback from instructors.  It is important to know what topics you are understanding well and which topics you should focus on during your study time.  If you trick yourself into believing you don't need to study at all, then you will suffer the consequences of doing poorly.  And, if you just focus on everything instead of what you really need to study, you may not improve in your weak areas enough.

After explaining the importance of honest self-assessment, I ask groups to rate themselves (as a group) using their Pre-production Rubric.  I explain that I will also be rating them using a different copy of the same rubric after we meet.  I will compare my scores to group scores to look for glaring disagreement, and students will get to see both rubrics when we meet again.

Meeting with Individual Groups

50 minutes

I put a stack of Pre-Production Rubrics on a clipboard and visit each individual group.  As the rubric shows, I am looking at 5 key categories and scoring them from 4 (highest, and rare) to 1 (lowest).  I think of the grading scale as:

  • 4 - Exceeds Expectations; Going beyond the clear expectations or completion at near the best I have ever seen
  • 3 - Meets Expectations; Doing an excellent job, but not reaching beyond
  • 2 - Progressing toward Expectations; Not quite performing at a successful level, but not struggling; Typically awarded when the effort does not meet the students' capabilities
  • 1 - No Evidence of Meeting Expectations; Clearly misunderstanding what is expected or clearly not attempting to meet it

I explain (when distributing the rubrics on Day 1) that students should seek 4's, but not be disappointed with 3's.  The rubric has explicit checkpoints that indicate what can be done to earn each level.

The 5 key categories assessed by the rubric are:

  • Concept
  • Storyboard
  • Script
  • Set Preparation
  • Teamwork

During student meetings, I begin by asking one specific person by name to summarize the storyline of the video in 2 or 3 sentences.  I usually choose someone who may typically not pay attention in class or someone who may not have appeared to really be participating in the group, if a student like that is a member of that particular group.  I want to make sure that everyone in the group knows what is going on and is actively participating, otherwise that student may not get the benefit of learning the content they are trying to communicate through this video project.

If the student I chose to explain the concept struggles, or if there is something that someone wants to add, I allow that, but only after the student I called on has finished.

I also check the storyboard to see if the main action of the video is included, particularly that reactants and products are identified, and that bonds are shown being broken and reforming.  I make it clear that the camera should see all of the atoms in the reactants moving to become the atoms in the reactants--that they are the same atoms in both.

I check for a script, either included on the storyboard template or written separately.  I ask if students plan to voiceover or if they plan to use only text on screen.  If something seems unclear in their storyboard or script, I say so and ask how they could change it to make it better.  

During Days 3 & 4 of the in class time for this project, the Set Designer should have completed the character/atom design and guided the other group members in cutting them out and preparing the set.  I provide students with ample construction paper, scissors, glue, tape, and other art supplies they think of that I have available in class.  Some students prefer to bring in their own materials, which is appreciated.

During the meeting, I make sure to point out at least 3 things that I think are on target or being done well.  Some sentence starters I use include:

  • I really like how you have...
  • This is really interesting...
  • You demonstrate creativity here by...
  • I am really impressed that you...
  • You should feel really proud about...

I also am looking for things that will cause a lower score on the final video product now, while students still have a chance to change it.  Things I am checking for include:

  • Are the reactants and products specifically, and accurately, identified and are the terms "reactant" and "product" used?
  • Is the correctly balanced chemical reaction equation displayed?
  • Are the molecular structures portrayed correctly, including numbers of bonds and arrangement of atoms, in the models?
  • If compounds are named, are the names correct?
  • Will the video clearly communicate conservation of matter, bond breakage and formation, as well as a rearrangement of the reactant atoms to be used in formation of the product?

I direct my feedback to ensure that groups who do not have 'yes' answers to the above questions have the opportunity to fix their video content BEFORE going into final production and editing. 

Students will have another week outside of class to finish the video project.  They have access to class computers with Windows Movie Maker, which they have already learned how to use at the beginning of the school year (check out this lesson).  I keep my classroom open during nutrition and lunch, and am on campus afterschool several days a week so that students can use the resources in my room if necessary to complete their project on time.

Final Student Work and Rubrics

There are three groups that I am sharing samples of the complete process for: Group 1, who has an exemplary final product; Group 2, who has a high quality product that meets the expectations; and Group 3, who has an average final product.  For each group, I am including the Video Preproduction Rubrics (both their evaluations and mine), my checked off Video Guide for Grading (that I complete while watching the videos--usually it takes me 2-3 viewings to complete), and the Video: FINAL PRODUCT Rubric with final grade.


 Preproduction Rubric (STUDENTS):

Preproduction Rubric (MINE):

Video Checklist:

Final Grade:






 Preproduction Rubric (STUDENTS):

Preproduction Rubric (MINE):

Video Checklist:

Final Grade:






 Preproduction Rubric (STUDENTS):

Preproduction Rubric (MINE):

Video Checklist:

Final Grade:


I am also including two other student videos completed by my students this year to show the variety of ideas that students will use.